Care experienced young people tell key committee what they need to thrive


Looked after children and young people in Cardiff have given their views on what Cardiff Council and other organisations must do to help them thrive.

In its annual report, to be presented to the Council's Cabinet next Wednesday 28 September, the Corporate Parenting Advisory Committee (CPAC) - which advises the council on behalf of care leavers and looked after children - outlined all its key achievements over the past year.

Among them was the work of the Bright Sparks group, which gives children and young people with experience of the care system the chance to become active participants in shaping policy and service provision within the council.

Through this engagement, CPAC's Corporate Parenting Strategy identified young people's five priorities:

  • Improving emotional wellbeing and physical health
  • Making better connections and improved relationships
  • A comfortable, safe and stable home whilst in care and after
  • Educational achievement, employment and training, and
  • Celebrating our children and young people

Cllr Sarah Merry, the Council's Cabinet member for Education and the chair of CPAC, said in the report: "A particular highlight for me was taking part in an engagement session with some members of the Bright Sparks group.

"It was great to directly hear their views, aspirations and experiences in order to help the committee to gain an understanding of the issues impacting them.

"These views will help to guide the agenda for the committee and help to plan and develop projects and support for the future."

The report also covered and commended the crucial work done by the personal adviser service to support young people leaving care during the pandemic. Despite government restrictions, the service had used phones, Skype and text to maintain contact with young people to build relationships.

In addition, an app has been developed to help children and young people express themselves freely and communicate with their social worker and other professionals. The ‘Mind of my Own' app has been implemented across Children's Services in Cardiff and allows users to share their views via a statement which is monitored by the social worker.

Other developments included:

  • Adoption services- the report said there had been a year-on-year increase in the number of adopter inquiries and adoption approvals
  • Young Person Gateway- when a young person is ready to live independently they are required to attend a training session about managing a tenancy, including connecting utilities, applying for benefits and registering with a GP
  • Into Work Advice Service- a team of five youth mentors liaise with Children's Services and Youth Services to ensure that all care experienced young people are given the opportunity to reach their potential and be supported into education and work.

Welcoming the annual report, Cllr Ash Lister, Cabinet Member for Children's Social Services  said: "The effects of the pandemic has meant challenging times for CPAC and looked after children and young people in Cardiff but this report shows that great work is being done and services are returning to normal.

"CPAC is a key part of the Council's services for young people and the Bright Sparks initiative in particular shows how seriously the Council takes its responsibilities in this area and how committed we are to making Cardiff a Child Friendly City as recommended by UNICEF UK."